Smart Money: Who Funded Youth Media Election Coverage?

Minnesota-based Phillips Community TV raised money specifically for Battleground Minnesota, a teen-made documentary on the elections. “We did a whole separate fundraising campaign for this video,” said program director John Gwinn. First, they produced a trailer,
then researched organizations that might be interested in helping to fund a
full-length feature. One staff member at Phillips Community TV used
to work for an online philanthropy project and, through that, had the idea
that the locally based Target and Best
be interested in funding the show through their government affairs divisions.
After watching the trailer, Target gave $10,000 and Best Buy gave $5,000. They
also helped Phillips organize a house party “mostly
with young, wealthy liberals,” said Gwinn. It raised about $7,500 more., the
alternative news source that hosts the youth-written Wiretap, got special funding
to cover the elections from the Wallace
Global Fund
, the Schumann
Center for Media and Democracy
the Albert A. List Foundation,
and the Open Society Institute.

A look at the funding strategies of youth media organizations that covered the 2004 election.

Alternet made the organizational decision to have Wiretap focus
on the youth vote angle. But none of their funding was specifically earmarked
for Wiretap funding, says editor Twilight Greenaway.

Andrew Lynne, educational facilitator at Manhattan
Neighborhood Network’s
Youth Channel
, said that the organization did not raise money for
its coverage of the elections. Even so, he says, Youth Channel thought
it was important to cover the elections because its “staff members
felt a certain responsibility to provide a community media outlet as opposed
to a corporate media outlet on the election, and so we all took it on ourselves.”

In the past, New York–based Youth Communication received
funding from the New York Community
the New York Foundation, and the Valentine
Perry Snyder Fund
of JP Morgan during election years to produce
special issues of the teen-written New
Youth Connections
on voting and political participation. They did not
apply for funding for their special 2004 election issue, says executive
director Keith Hefner, because he felt that year more foundations were
interested in direct “get out the vote” efforts than what Hefner calls “pre-registration
education.” “We’re trying to lay the groundwork so that when
someone approaches a kid on the street and says, ‘Are you registered
to vote?’, the kid will want to register because they understand why
it would make a difference.”

Three youth-reported news services—Children’s
New York, Y-Press in Indianapolis, and 8-18
Markette, Michigan—partnered to secure funding to exchange youth among the
organizations covering the conventions. Each bureau received $5,000 in total from
the Open Society Institute and the Arsalyn
, which is part of the Ludwick Family Foundation. Children’s PressLine Program Director Katina Paron believes they received
the funding not only because of the civic engagement angle; foundations “love partnerships because it saves on resources for
them.” She adds, foundations “really love peer exchanges
and this was kind of an extreme peer exchange.”

One thought on “Smart Money: Who Funded Youth Media Election Coverage?”

  1. Just one minor correction on the funding sources. Each bureau — Children’s PressLine, Y-Press and 8-18 Media — received $15,000 ($10,000 from Open Society and $5,000 from Arsalyn) for convention coverage.

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